Teams Racing will return to Western Springs Speedway with a vengeance this Boxing Day as three countries fight for points and a $5,000 prize pool.
Australia, USA and New Zealand will each put forward three drivers to battle it out for national pride, and unlike previous years, points towards their feature starting positions.
“The test races will be about winning for your country, but also accumulating enough points to ensure you start near the front of the feature,” said Springs Speedway promoter Greg Mosen.
“This new found importance on test racing will make for a more exciting spectacle for the fans, with drivers fighting for every position and every point.”
The international teams will be chosen by their respective captains – current POWRI Australian Midget Car Champion Nathan Smee will captain Australia, while USAC Triple Crown winner Jerry Coons Jr. leads the Team USA. The New Zealand team selection process is yet to be confirmed.
“It’s an honour they chose me to be captain. Either that or it just means I’m the oldest,” said the midget veteran, Coons Jr.
“I’m not exactly sure who all is coming so I’m not sure yet [about who will be in the USA team], but all the drivers are tough and the majority, if not all of the American drivers race for a living.”
The two teams’ races will run alongside the regular heats, with any driver from either format given the opportunity to start on pole if they earn enough points. There are no reserved places for test team drivers in the main event.
“The thing about having ‘teams’ racing is that we are all here to win and with money and points on the line, it’s going to be every driver for themselves,” said Coons Jr.
“It’s a great couple of weeks racing, and to race in front of such a big crowd, especially on Boxing Day, is very exciting.
“We don’t get the amount of fans at a midget race in the US like we do at The Springs. It’s such a cool atmosphere at this track in Auckland. We just love coming down.”
The speedway season kicks off with two practice events at Western Springs Stadium in October, before the first race meeting, which doubles as the Auckland Championships, on October 26.